Epiphany 2023: Traversing the In-between
Updated: Jan 6
Dear Alpha family and friends:
The season between 1st Advent and Epiphany is a time of reflection, celebration, and remembrance of the moment when God joined humanity in flesh in the form of Jesus Christ. This act of love is commemorated around the world through Nativity displays on fireplace mantels, in church sanctuaries, and on lawns lighted throughout the nighttime hours. They include Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, some animals and shepherds, as well as an angel or two. Also, most Nativities include three strangers from a distant land who come to worship the Savior of the world. These men of the East may have visited Jesus, but he was probably a toddler living in Nazareth by the time they arrived in Palestine. Despite the story our contemporary Nativity scenes share, there was a lengthy gap between Jesus’ birth and the time they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
As the Christmas season ends with the arrival of Epiphany (Three Kings Day) on January 6th, Christians are reminded that we, too, live in a lengthy in-between period of time. The incarnation of God through Jesus happened a very long time ago. Our faith confesses he will return, but we haven’t the faintest idea of when that moment will come to pass. So, like the Eastern men we continue on our pilgrimage looking forward to the day when we will finally see him face-to-face.
Life in the in-between is never easy. It is beset with all kinds of trials which can make us question if it is even worth seeing our journey through to the end. Our progress can seem tediously slow and monotonous. There are pressures both within and without which work to wear down our determination to remain on the path to Jesus. The world says we are foolish to believe what we affirm, and our conscience reminds us of how often we fall short of living up to the standards of the faith we profess. Some days it takes all the strength we can muster just to place one foot in front of the other.
Yet, despite the cadre of forces which strives to cut short our journey, we are buoyed by the signposts that God places along the way which motivate us forward:
The many promises written in Scripture assuring us we will arrive at our destination.
The continuing presence of the Holy Spirit who reminds us of those promises and offers course corrections when we get sidetracked.
Our personal testimonies about just how good God has been to us throughout our lives.
The church Jesus founded so that we never have to travel through the in-between alone.
All of these converge to stiffen our resolve to continue our trek towards Christ. They assert there is a definite destination that we will get to. And when we arrive we will know that every hardship we faced to get there along the way was worth enduring.
As we begin another year of traveling through the in-between maybe we need to reaffirm our intention to continue down the path towards Jesus. Like those men from the East, who saw a great star in the sky and faithfully ran after it until they found the one it proclaimed, may we chase after the things that draw us closer to him. Blessings to you, Pastor Kevin